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2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Review

March 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Motorcycle Reviews

Go to the “2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200″ Overview Page>>

Review by Basem Wasef

The outgoing, air-cooled Ducati Multistrada was a venerated—if quirky—offering for a select but dedicated crew of riders. When the Multi finally passed its prime and Ducati redesigned the sport tourer, they took a clean sheet of paper and aimed for an unlikely combination of extraordinary performance and long distance functionality.

The ambitious goal—at least for the top-of-the-line “S” models, priced at $19,995—was to squeeze four bikes into one. “S” versions are available in Sport or Touring Editions: the former is clad in carbon fiber belt covers, air intakes, and wheel huggers, while the latter is equipped with saddlebags, heated grips, and a center stand. All “S” models come with ABS, Ducati Traction Control (DTC), and electronic suspension.

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200

The four-in-one concept is addressed via an electronics package on “S” models that manages engine output, throttle response, traction control and electronic suspension settings. “Sport” unleashes the engine’s full 150 horsepower, a sharp throttle response, stiff suspension, and—on a scale of 0-8, 8 being most intrusive—a DTC setting of 4. “Touring” also enables 150 horsepower, though with a slightly softer throttle response, plusher suspension, and a DTC setting of 5. “Urban” makes the bike’s personality even milder, curtailing horsepower to 100, making the suspension more supple for potholes, and placing DTC at 6. “Enduro” is offroad oriented, with 100 horsepower, predictable power delivery, a wallowy suspension setting (with increased rear ride height), and DTC set at a lax 2.

The Öhlins TTX suspension system uses stepper motors to adjust compression and rebound. Lest you fear it’s too newfangled to stand the test of time, the TTX system has already been in place on the 1198R, and DTC has also also been employed on the 1198R and Streetfighter. If you want to take further control of the customized settings, you can also manually redefine the parameters of each riding mode, individually adjust the suspension’s compression and rebound, or even turn every electronic aid off. Incidentally, the Multistrada’s instrumentation offers an abundance of information, from gear position and DTC setting to average fuel economy, air temperature, ride mode setting, and more.

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200

If those features are too complicated for your taste, the base model is priced at a more manageable $14,995 and still comes equipped with ride-by-wire throttle, DTC, and a keyless ignition system. All models get an 1,198cc engine plucked from the 1198 superbike and massaged for less track-oriented duty. The mill produces 150 horsepower at 9,250 rpm and 87.5 ft-lbs of torque at 7,500 rpm, and the torque figure surpasses that of the 1198 under 6,500 rpm—no small feat, considering the big bore powerplant’s already high state of tune. The engine meets with a six-speed transmission and a slipper clutch, and ABS can be added for $1,500. The base model is equipped with fully adjustable 50mm Marzocchi forks and a Sachs rear shock with a remote spring preload dial.

Stopping power comes courtesy four-piston, dual disc Brembo brakes up front and a twin-piston single disc setup at the rear. Touring fans should find solace in the 5.3 gallon fuel tank (though it yields a decent but not outstanding range of 248 miles, thanks to an average fuel economy of 47 mpg.)

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200

As if the new Multistrada weren’t loaded with enough trick features, we should also mention that the easily removable saddlebags works with a tidy, frameless setup that offers more storage than the BMW GS: 15.3 gallons, or 19.3 gallons with expanded lids. The steering lock incorporates a novel electronic system that clicks the handlebars into either left or right sides, and twin 12V power outlets (for accessories like heated vests) come standard on every Multistrada. A range of optional accessories including a Garmin GPS system, higher capacity saddlebags, taller windshield, lower saddle, Termignoni exhaust, and a top case large enough for two full face helmets.

Editors’ Note

As part of the SmartCycleShopper format – we will write the review with three separate perspectives: 1) a Beginning Riders, 2) an Intermediate Rider, 3) and an Expert Rider. We hope you find this format helpful…. The Ducati Multistrada 1200 Review for Beginning Riders – Click Here. Ducati Multistrada 1200 Review for Intermediate Riders- Click Here. Multistrada 1200 Review for Expert Riders- Click Here .

2010 Ducati Multistrada1200

Beginning Riders

Though the Multistrada 1200 S purports to be four-bikes-in-one—and the multi-bike concept isn’t entirely untrue—even in its tamest on-road setting, the Multistrada is quite the hot rod. Since it weighs only 485 pounds wet (and 478 pounds without the “S” package), the 100 horsepower and softened throttle response in “Urban” mode still produces strong acceleration, although the bike certainly becomes more manageable in this curtailed setting. Nonetheless, the Brembo brakes are so powerful that, without ABS, the risk of lockup can pose a challenge to new riders.

The Multistrada’s seat height of 33.46 inches may sound tall, but the bike’s light weight makes it relatively easy to handle at stoplights. Riders of shorter stature will likely opt for the available lower seat, which drops the saddle to 32.48 inches—but that won’t erase the fact that the Multistrada can be too much bike for a beginner, especially in entry level form, where the engine output is a constant 150 horsepower.

2010 Ducati Multistrada1200

Intermediate riders

The Multistrada 1200 S becomes a bit closer to intermediate rider territory when set to “Urban” mode, its most restrictive setting; sudden throttle twists are smoothed out enough to avoid jerky acceleration, and traction control effectively works to keep wheelspin to a minimum. Judicious riders might even dial in a more intrusive traction control setting, though that still won’t reduce the loss of mechanical grip due to loose road surfaces or excessive entry speeds in corners.

Intermediate riders will likely find more horsepower than they might know what to do with in “Touring” mode; with 150 ponies on tap, the Multistrada has a serious hankering for asphalt, and the lure of speed is all too tempting for riders whose enthusiasm exceeds their skill levels.

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200

Expert Riders

Less experienced riders might theoretically possess the discretion to exercise restraint on the entry level version of the Multistrada (with full engine power available all the time.) They could also choose a conservative riding mode on the high-priced “S” model. But it’s doubtful newbies will be buying a $15,000 or $20,000 Multistrada in the first place.

But for the experienced rider, the newest Multistrada’s abilities will shine. We tested the Multistrada on the island of Lanzarote, just off the west African coast, and found it to be a potent tool on the slithering bands of asphalt that hug the volcanic coastline. Our “S” model exhibited distinct personality changes between modes, and the variable power output of the engine enabled a number of different approaches to riding style.

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200

For instance, when slower speed passes were required for photography, “Urban” allowed us to more confidently pitch the bike over in turns and use the throttle smoothly. “Touring” mode turned out to be effective for higher speed blasts down sections where the pavement was less than perfect; the suspension’s suppleness soaked up bumps that would have perturbed highly-strung sportbikes, and the availability of all 150 horsepower offered exhilarating acceleration during full tilt throttle twists. Likewise, “Sport” turns the Multistrada into the kind of unrelenting animal you’d expect from Ducati: focused, sharp-edged, and dialed in with lots of road feedback. We hit a jagged trail in “Enduro” mode, and almost found the bike’s traction control and soft suspension too inviting for speed. We’re not newbies to the dirt, but the Multistrada felt so comfortable offroad, it was practically begging for speed: one experienced journalist’s high-speed crash confirmed that this bike’s surefootedness can easily inspire overconfident riding.

2010 Ducati Multistrada1200
Overall, the Multistrada 1200 S we tested proved remarkably versatile and capable, especially if you’ve got the time do delve into its electronic menus. At least on the “S” models, suspension adjustability is quick and easy, and the bike really does feel like it switches personalities at the push of a button. Available saddlebags offer plenty of storage space, and the adjustable screen brings plenty of wind protection during longer rides. Touring enthusiasts will also be pleased by the upright seating position and the saddle, which proved to be comfortable after a full day of riding.

Though it’s too much bike for a beginner, advanced intermediate and more experienced riders will find a wealth of personalization and loads of exuberant personality in the 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200.

2010 Ducati Multistrada1200

OVERVIEW
The Ducati Multisrada 1200 is a sport touring style motorcycle with an MSRP of that starts at $14,995, jumps to $16,495 with ABS, and hits $19,995 for “S” versions, available in either a Sport Edition or Touring Edition. Power comes from a 1,198cc liquid-cooled, 4 Desmodromic valve per cylinder l-twin engine with electric starter. The engine mates to a six-speed manual transmission with a slipper clutch, and total fuel capacity is 5.3 gallons. The Multistrada 1200 rides on light alloy wheels with a 120/70 ZR17 front tire and 190/55 ZR17 rear tire. The front suspension is an inverted fork, while the rear suspension is a monoshock with a progressive linkage and a single-sided aluminum swingarm; electronically adjustable suspension is standard on the “S” model. Front 4-piston, dual disc brakes and 2-piston, single disc rear brakes provide stopping power, and ABS is optional. The Multistrada comes standard with two-piece, 2-passenger seating.

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Author: Basem Wasef (10 Articles)

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